MarySmith’sPlace – #Otter #Otter Pool #Dumfries&Galloway

After my last Silent Sunday post here my blogging friend Jemima Pett left a comment asking if I knew the wood where there is an otter pool with a bronze statue beside it. By sheer coincidence, as part of my never-ending task of sorting old photos for scanning, I had a photo of the otter statue on my desk! I couldn’t not blog about it, could I?

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The Otter Pool is situated on The Raiders’ Road, a ten-mile forest drive through part of the Galloway Forest. The pool, on the Back Water of Dee was always one of our favourite places for picnics when my son was small because of the wonderful, smooth flat rocks, the pools, some shallow, some deep depending on the amount of rainfall, and small waterfalls.

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My son was a total water baby from the day he first crawled into the ocean and he loved being at the Otter Pool, spending the entire time in – or under – the water while I pretended not to be terrified.

This is the poem (from the collection Thousands Pass Here Every Day published by Indigo Dreams) I wrote for him in those days.

WATER GOD
(To David)
Sun-gleam on wet bronze limbs,
seal sleek you slip
into the deepest pool.
From the rocks I watch,
afraid of your fearlessness,
breath held as brown water
closes over you.

Surfacing, you laugh,
a careless toss of your head
scattering miniature rainbows –
my water god of the Otter Pool.

Other children splash,
playing safe
in sun-warmed shallows.
Their mothers silently question
my carelessness of you.
They do not know
how deep the fear,
how powerless
the mother of a deity
who believes he’s indestructible –
my water god of the Otter Pool.

The bronze statue of the otter Jemima remembers was, unfortunately, stolen some years ago. He stood on a flat stone overlooking the water and every visitor stroked his head so it had turned to a gleaming gold. He is greatly missed.

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39 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace – #Otter #Otter Pool #Dumfries&Galloway

  1. I visit the Otter Pool probably 20 times a year – mostly in winter or certainly off-season. I have had so many conversations – ‘ oh I have not been there for 10, 15 or 20 years. Why do people stop going out and doing simple country things? Mind you along the Raiders Road at the moment I could get into a fist fight with the ‘ dirty campers ‘.

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    • I guess when kids grow up and move on, the parents don’t bother. I still visit my favourite Galloway haunts, though I’ve not been to the Otter Pool this year. I read the car park (I’m so not a cyclist!) is closed still. I wouldn’t blame you for getting into a fight with the ‘dirty campers’. I’m baffled by the sense of entitlement some people have to throw their rubbish anywhere (:

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  2. Mary that poem is just lovely and full of love. The photos are lovely t. What a coincidence that the photo was on the desk as Gemma asked about it.
    Why would someone steal such a beautiful statue…. almost answered my own question, it’s so selfish. Hope you are well.💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Willow, I’m so pleased you like the poem. As for the photo – I couldn’t believe it when Jemima asked about the otter statue. And yes, selfish is the word to describe whoever stole the statue. I hope you are making good progress and feeling better.

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      • My progress is very slow Mary, I don’t see the surgeon until 1st September, that will be three months with the drain. Goodness knows when the op will be either. Also had a few trip to hospital with problems! Thank goodness I live here and not in Afghanistan back when you were over there. It’s great to read but not sure I’d want to experience it first hand. Anyway not to moan I am still smiling 😉😂 keep well and safe 💜 💜

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    • Thanks, Steph. I think many families have taken generations of children to the otter pool. And, probably most have been torn between letting the kids be free to enjoy the water and wanting to protect them.

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  3. My son, also David found your page when researching the otter he was photographed beside when he was about 3. He was the same height as the otter and loved holding its “hand”. Fond memories of family days out. I love your poem. Such a shame the otter was stolen, do pleased it’s been replaced. Maybe my David will find it again one day.

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    • Thank you for your lovely comment on my Otter Pool blog. I think many people share those happy memories – it’s such a fabulous place to spend a day. The new otter is a stone carving of an otter with a fish on the ground near the picnic benches. I’m afraid it doesn’t have the same magic as the bronze one. I was there the other day and shocked to see the new picnic tables have been badly burnt by people using disposable BBQs on them and the remains of camp fires all over the place – but the flat rocks and the pools are still the same.

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